Raymond James Stadium erupted in cheers Sunday, February 7, and only some of it was for The Weeknd’s Halftime Show performance.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took Super Bowl LV, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, 31–9. This win marked the second in Tampa’s franchise history, the fourth of tight end Rob Gronkowski’s career and the seventh in quarterback Tom Brady’s lengthy career. The game was all Tampa Bay, offensively and defensively.
Tampa’s defense limited Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense to three field goals. Tampa’s offense more than handled the Chiefs defense, putting up three touchdowns in the first half.
Forty-three year-old Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady was the star of the show and the game’s MVP, throwing for 201 yards with no interceptions. Of his ten Super Bowl appearances, this was the first time he showed up in the opening half, throwing three scoring passes. Two of these passes went to tight end Rob Gronkowski, a former teammate from New England who came out of retirement to play for Brady and the Bucs. His 67 yards led the Bucs in receiving, showing how equal the attack on KC’s defense was. Brady’s third touchdown pass was to wide receiver Antonio Brown, former Pittsburgh Steeler who has hopped around the league, eventually settling in Tampa. The last touchdown came from running back Leonard Fournette, a 27-yard rush in the fourth quarter. Fournette ended the game with 89 rushing yards and 46 receiving yards.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes was thrown off his rhythm by Tampa’s defense, scrambling to make throws and avoid getting sacked. He threw for 270 yards but had two interceptions and many incompletions. Despite the chemistry between Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce, who connected for 133 receiving yards, the Tampa Bay defense was able to prevent the duo from scoring. Bucs defenders Ndamukong Suh and Shaquil Barrett put their powers together for a combined total of 2.5 sacks.
The Bucs’ playoff run was a surprise to many. Knocking off Drew Brees’s New Orleans Saints and Aaron Rodgers’s stacked Green Bay Packers in two prior NFC playoff games secured them a spot in the Super Bowl. Blowing out the defending champion Chiefs in the Bucs’ first Super Bowl appearance in 18 years was an even bigger shocker, especially with the youthful skill of Patrick Mahomes. The Bucs pulled off the upset, giving the city its second championship of the year. (The Tampa Bay Lightning won the NHL’s Stanley Cup in the 2020 shortened playoff season.)
The ratings for Super Bowl LV were not as impressive as the Bucs’ performance. Total viewership for this year’s big game totaled 96.4 million. Even after the decline to 113 million viewers last year, Super Bowl viewership continued to decline this year on both in-home and streaming viewing platforms. The Super Bowl is considered the biggest game in American sports, and decreasing viewership still remains a mystery.
Super Bowl LV was the game for records to be set and history to be made. Tom Brady now has more Super Bowl wins than the NFL teams with the most wins. He has seven, and both the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers have six.
The Weeknd was the first Canadian to headline the Super Bowl halftime show. The Bucs were also the first team in Super Bowl history to win the Super Bowl in their home stadium. Super Bowl LV, was a game to remember, and played in the midst of a global pandemic, the football game found a way to bring some of America together.
Sources: CBS Sports, ESPN, NBC Sports, NFL